Seaham couple to take on Mount Everest for Cancer Connections inspired by charity patron Jade Thirlwall

A Seaham couple are set to climb to Everest base camp later this year in aid of South Tyneside-based charity Cancer Connections.

Mea Deen, 48 and Rachael Crooks, 38, are due to fly to Kathmandu on April 4 before setting off on the gruelling 18-day trek through the Himalayas, climbing 5,380m to Everest base camp.

The couple, who are both singers in the North East, got together 18 months ago when Rachael saw a post about Mea’s upcoming trip and they bonded over a mutual thirst for adventure.

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Mea, an ex-soldier hailing from South Shields, booked the trip around two years ago but had originally planned to do it on his 50th birthday.

Mea Deen and Rachael Crooks who are climbing to Everest base camp to raise funds for Cancer Connections.

“I’ve wanted to climb to Everest base camp all my life and you never know what’s around the corner so I thought let’s just do it now,” said the Milton Close resident.

“At he last minute we decided to try and raise some money for charity as well.”

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They chose South Shields-based Cancer Connections, a cause which is close to Mea’s heart after losing his dad to the disease at the age of 16.

However, they were equally inspired by the charity’s patron Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall, who climbed Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief in 2018.

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The couple got together over a mutual love of adventure.

“As singers we’re both really proud of Jade, she’s remained so grounded and kept her roots here,” said Mea.

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“She’s a great inspiration for South Shields with all her charity work.”

Mea and Rachael have funded the entire trip themselves - around £6,000 each - with a generous donation from the Seaham-based Chunky Ducks charity to cover insurance costs.

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“You have to think of everything when you’re spending 18 days in the Himalayas, it can get down to -30 degrees and you’re in the middle of nowhere,” said Mea.

Rachael Crooks got in touch with Mea after seeing a post about his expedition online.
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“The challenge is going to be the altitude, but I can’t wait. It’s a milestone achievement.”

The couple are holding a fundraising night on Friday, February 28, at Hedworth Hall in South Shields to help them reach their £1,500 target, with live music from North East performers.

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For tickets contact Mea on 07952865439.

You can donate to Cancer Connections here.

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Mea Deen is raising money for Cancer Connections, a cause close to his heart.